Disclaimer: Not SM, though, for the intents and purposes of this story, I sure do wish I could turn someone into a vampire. Just saying…
MAMMOUTH AUTHOR'S NOTE: I know I haven't been around a lot lately…I did NaNoWriMo and finished! I'm starting edits soon. The book is a post-apocalyptic vampire fic! Definitely out of my comfort zone and no Twi-characters in sight! I hope to get it edited and maybe even posted to Amazon for purchase. Keep your fingers crossed! BLilTxGrl is MUY excited about it and she hasn't even read it yet, she just knows about it from what little I've discussed it. In her words; "This could be the next Black Dagger Brotherhood!" Well, we'll see…
SECOND: For the "Miami at Twilight" fans…I have NOT given up on re-editing it! My beta has some personal stuff going on, so…yeah…when she has time, she will send me back what she has and then it will continue!
NEXT: Here's the deal with this little gem…this one has been in my head for a while. It's a "what if?" situation. I'm not sure how long this will be. We'll just see when I get to the end, shall we? Remember, this is un-beta'd. Any mistakes are all my own. Even though I've spoken English for the past 32 years, I suck at it. LOL
Tissue Warning for sensitive souls and Charlie lovers everywhere!
TIMELINE: Takes place a few months after the end of Breaking Dawn
I blew out a breath as I walked out the door and into the rare Washington sunlight. It was weak, but it was there; mocking me as I continued down the path. I had driven over to Port Angeles because there was no way in hell I was going to go to Forks General Hospital. Not when my daughter's father-in-law worked there. I didn't want him to slip up and tell her before I could.
My doctor had confirmed the worst. Cancer. How in the hell could six little letters form such a horrible word? Worse still were the words that came after it… inoperable… terminal… I couldn't quite comprehend it. I should have known something was amiss when I never quite shook the cough from the bug I picked up a few months ago. Washington State was one of the wettest places in the world. I knew it took time to shake a cough, but it never quite went away. I just figured the moisture in the air was to blame. After all, I had never been a smoker; that had always been Renee's thing. Thankfully she stopped when Bella was younger.
From the cough, I started getting tired earlier and earlier in the day it seemed. But I figured, hey, I'm not a spring chicken anymore. I'm a father, a…grandfather, too. I had no business going out dancing with Sue to Port Angeles on a weeknight. I shouldn't have drunk those two extra beers with Billy while the game was on, I knew not to run after Seth while playing baseball with him and Jake on the Rez…all of those things I contributed to the fact that I was a forty-year-old man. The big 4-0 didn't bother me that much when it hit last month, but realizing I wouldn't make it to forty-one was a humbling realization.
How in the hell was I going to tell Bella? Sue? God…
I didn't realize I had walked to the small park beyond the hospital until I stopped before a bench and collapsed onto it. Poor Sue…she's had one husband die of a heart attack and a boyfriend who was dying of cancer. No. I couldn't do this to her. I wouldn't. I had to break up with her. She deserved to have her heart stay somewhat intact. Okay, so, that takes care of her. I felt sorry for Seth, but Jake would look after him, he already was. And Leah was grown enough. They would be fine. That only left my girls…Bella and Renesmee.
I knew both of them would be fine, really. I mean, after all, they had the Cullens and whatever weird connection they all had. My mind rejected words like immortal and vampire. I knew that was more than likely which way the wind was blowing. Especially since the day Jake showed me his…inner beast, but I couldn't quite process it. And now I was processing something completely different…my untimely demise. How odd.
I sat in dumbfounded silence until my blasted cell phone rang. I looked at the caller ID and groaned. Sue. I punched the button and said, "Hello, Sue."
A pause, then, "Charlie? What's wrong? You sound funny."
"Uh, yeah, I just…I'm busy."
"Where? I came by the Police Department and you weren't there."
Might as well start the fight now, I thought. "What? Are you checking up on me or something? I'm a grown man, Sue. I do have a life, you know. I had shit to do."
"Don't you take that tone with me, Charles Buckley Swan. I don't have to put up with it."
"And I don't have to put up with you checking in on me all the time! I'm a capable man, Sue! I'm the police chief! A father! Hell, for all intents and purposes, I'm a fucking grandfather! I don't need you mollycoddling me all the damn time!"
She let out a huff of indignation and I heard the phone disconnect. Good. She hung up on me. Of course, she would call back later, but for now, I had started the ball rolling. If she broke up with me, it would be her idea, and it wouldn't hurt her as bad. That's good. I didn't want her hurt.
I blew out a breath and stood. I glanced down at myself. I knew I wasn't as fit as I was when I was twenty, but I didn't have a beer belly, thanks to my gym membership. My cholesterol was only marginally high. My blood pressure and blood sugar levels were all normal. And yet, this disease decided to move into my lungs and travel to my bones without giving me hardly any warning or any way to stop it. The doctors were astounded at the progression it had made given my symptoms weren't worse than they were. Just goes to show these diseases aren't the most predictable in the world.
As I sat back down and pondered all these things, I didn't cry. After all, what was the point of that? But what I did next surprised even me…I called Renee.
It picked up after the fourth ring with her voicemail, "Hi, you've reached Renee's phone! I can't take your call, probably because I can't find my phone, but leave me a message and I'll call you back as soon as it starts beeping at me! Bye!"
I had to laugh and was actually smiling at my ex-wife's message when I said, "Hey, Renee, it's me. Give me a call back, okay? I need to talk to you about something."
I hung up and my phone immediately rang again. I looked at the caller ID and smiled. Renee. "Hello?"
"Hey, Charlie! Damn phone was wedged in the bottom of my purse. How the hell does it get there when I have a perfectly good little pocket for it on the outside of the bag? I swear, I think it likes to get up and walk around when I'm not looking. Sneaky little bastard…"
I let out a belly laugh at that. Renee and I had our differences, but one thing we never lacked in our relationship was laughter. We were always making one another laugh. It was when she stopped laughing and started getting depressed by the Washington weather I realized I couldn't be everything she needed. She needed the sun and the sky, too. She was like a bird…she needed to spread her wings and fly.
"So, Mr. Police Chief, is this a professional call? Am I under arrest?"
I sobered at the mention of the reason for my call. "Uh, no, it's not, Renee."
She quieted down immediately. "Oh, God. Is it Bella? Is she sick? Edward?"
I shook my head, though I knew she couldn't see me. "No, they're both fine."
"Then it's you. What's wrong, Charlie?"
That was another thing about Renee...she acted ditzy, but she was very, very perceptive. "I'm dying, Renny," I told her flatly.
"Charlie! No! What is it?"
"Cancer," I managed as I broke down into sobs. I guess I couldn't hold them back any longer.
"Oh my God, I'll…I'll book a flight. I'll…how did Bella take it? Is she there with you now? How long? Oh, what difference does it make? I'll be right there, Charlie…"
"Ren!" I shouted into the phone. "Stop. Just…stop. No, Bella isn't with me. I haven't told her yet. I just found out." I sucked in a breath. "It's inoperable and terminal. It's already moved into my bones and advanced from there. The doc gives me maybe a few weeks."
She was sobbing by this point and I could hear Phil consoling her through the phone. "I'm sorry," I whispered.
"I want to be there for you, Charlie…"
"No, Renee. Don't mention it to Bells, not yet. I'll tell her soon, but just let me process it, okay?"
"You know I will, Charlie. But I want to be there for you, for her…"
I knew Renee couldn't come here. She couldn't see Bella and the changes in her. She couldn't meet Renesmee, that wouldn't be good. Where I see what is going on and keep it to myself, Renee would be calling everyone she knew, telling them the wonders of vampires and probably either get herself committed or killed. "No, Renee. You can't do that. You know you can't. Just let me figure a few things out, okay?" It was a mistake to call her. I shouldn't have. I should have just dealt with this all by myself.
"Are you sure, Charlie?"
"Yes, Renee. You need to just stay there."
She paused, as if she were trying to decide if she wanted to tell me something or not. I flashed back to a time she spent her entire paycheck to buy us a saltwater aquarium Why the hell would I want a saltwater aquarium, I had asked. That had led to a horrific argument and how it was as close to the tropics as she would get. "Spit it out, Renee," I chided softly.
"I'm pregnant, Charlie."
Well. It was one hell of a day for surprises, wasn't it? "Wow. That's…that's great, Renee." I knew Phil was younger than her, but I didn't think they'd have a kid.
"It was a surprise, but we are thrilled. I'm already a few months along."
"Good thing you never liked alcohol then, isn't it?" I joked. She had never liked beer and didn't tolerate anything stronger than a single wine cooler.
"Yes, well, you know what a partier I am," she deadpanned.
I chuckled. "I'm happy for you, Renee. You are a great mother. You and Phil deserve all this happiness."
"I'm just worried about what people will think. Will they look at me and think I'm the kid's grandma?"
I laughed again. Renee was a wonderful person, but vain. "You'll be fine. You look like Bella's slightly older sister anyway, Doll," I said, calling her by the nickname I'd used on her for years.
She let out another sob and told me, "Charlie, I'm so sorry for you. I really am. How did Sue take it?"
"Sue and I have broken up." Might as well go ahead and say it out loud. It would make things easier if I believed it already.
"No! Oh, Charlie, are you sure you don't want me to come out there?"
"No, I'm sure. There are quite a few people that like me around here. I'm sure I will have people hovering all over me."
At that, she chuckled flatly. "Yes, I do remember how you hate having people fuss over you-a trait our daughter picked up, I'm afraid."
I smiled as I thought of Bella. No, she didn't like anyone fretting over her, either. "I'll call you sometime soon, Renee."
"If you change your mind…"
"I'll know who to call," I finished for her.
"I love you, Charlie."
I winced. There was a time I would have killed to hear her say those words one more time. The fact that she was saying them now because she believed it would be the last time she talked to me hurt me more than I thought it would. "Love ya, too, Ren." I managed gruffly before I ended the call.
While I was on the phone it had clouded over and I sighed as I stood once more. I made it back to my cruiser just in time for the bottom to fall out and I drove home in the pouring rain.
Once I arrived at home, I was unsurprised to find Sue's car in the drive. Oh goody, I thought sarcastically as I stepped from my vehicle. She had a key, so I knew she would be waiting inside for me. I contemplated chickening out and letting her stay with me until the end, but I wanted to protect her heart from the pain of another death.
I steeled myself and stepped through my door. I took off my gun belt, coat, and toed off my shoes before I walked into the living area. "Glad to see you made yourself at home," I stated flatly.
She stood from the couch, and I hated seeing the tears in her eyes, tears I had caused, but knowing they would be less if she was angry, I added, "I'm not in the mood, Sue. If this is for a booty call, just go on and see if you can find it somewhere else."
The slap that hit my cheek didn't surprise me. Sue had fire in her that much was for sure. What was it with me and fiery women?
"You son of a bitch!" she screamed. "Who are you, and what have you done with my Charlie?"
I sighed. "Maybe this is who I am, did you ever think of that? I'm a single man, Sue. I had been alone almost sixteen years when Bella made her grand reappearance. Maybe I just want some time to myself. Maybe I don't like having someone here and up my ass all the damn time."
"Oh, is that how it is?" she screeched.
I nodded and walked into the kitchen for a beer. I chugged about half of it before I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand. "Yeah, that's how it is. And furthermore, maybe I already raised my kid. Maybe I'm not interested in raising anyone else's."
The hurt once more appeared on her face but she slid a cool mask of indifference over it. "I don't recall asking you to help Seth with his homework or to get Leah into that Basic Law Enforcement Training class over in Port Angeles. You volunteered."
Leah. I was proud of that girl. She was taking all that anger and turning it into something good. She wanted to become a cop and had hopes of becoming an FBI agent. She wanted to head to Quantico when she got old enough. I shrugged at Sue. "Maybe I felt like being nice. I mean, after all, they don't have a father anymore. I just realized I didn't want to do it full time."
"They aren't babies you have to look after, Charlie. You know Seth's almost grown. He'll be out of the house in no time…"
I downed the rest of the beer and shrugged again. "I'm sorry, Sue. I just…I'm stuck in my ways. I don't think I can change. And, I honestly don't think I want to."
"What about me?" she asked softly.
"What about you? I was there for you when Harry died. You and I got drunk one night and slept together and we formed a sexual relationship. I mean, it's great, don't get me wrong. I have really enjoy it. But I think you thought this was going somewhere different and it's not. I'm content to be a bachelor. It's not like we were ever going to get married or anything…" Lies. I had been looking at engagement rings. I hadn't been sure if it was the right decision, but I knew I wanted to be with her. But not now. Not anymore. I couldn't do that to her.
Her eyes grew wide and two tears spilled over onto her cheeks. "Fuck. You," she whispered vehemently as she turned on her heel and stomped to the door, slamming it behind her.
I blew out an exhausted breath and walked upstairs where I changed into a pair of flannel pajama pants and a tee shirt before I returned to the kitchen to heat up a microwave pizza. Bella had been onto me for eating healthier, but I guess I didn't need to worry about that anymore, did I? I was just putting it on a plate when a pounding at the door caused me to turn.
I went to answer it and to my surprise, it was Jake. "Hey, Jake," I said as I let him in. He followed me silently back to the microwave. "What's going on…?" that was all I got out before his fist slammed into my jaw.
I stumbled back against the cabinets and felt the countertop bite into my side. "Ow," I groaned as I rubbed my face. "Damn it, Jake. What the hell was that for?"
"THAT was for the fact that my beta's mother came crying to our house to talk to MY father about how her BOYFRIEND acted like an ass and after calling her a pushy WHORE, broke up with her!"
Both my hands went up in defense. "Hey, I never, ever would call Sue a whore! She's wonderful!"
"Then what the hell gives, Charlie? I thought you two were kind of like, I don't know, meant to be or something."
I shrugged my shoulders. "Look, kid, I realize you think you have so much dating experience since you and Edward fought over Bella, but in the real, grown-up world, you have no clue."
At that, he started laughing. He started laughing and didn't stop. He laughed so hard he had to sit down and wasn't breathing and I was starting to get worried about him. Tears were pouring down his cheek as he let out a snort. "Don't even get me started on dating, Charlie!" He was quiet for a second before he snorted again. "You think you've got it rough? What about me? Huh? What about me!? Destined to be a virgin for seven more years and then, hell, I'll probably have to do some right of passage bullshit even then! Not that I care, I mean, I don't, because it will totally be worth it one day, but damn it! He thinks just because they were then I should be! For fuck's sake…I'm seventeen years old! My libido is practically non existent and I think something's wrong with me but then Quil's all like, well, this is the way it's supposed to be and I'm just…" He paused all of a sudden and groaned. "Don't even go there, okay?
I blinked and slowly sat down across from him. "Jake? You okay, boy? I mean…uh…is there something you want to talk about?" I felt uncomfortable about this, but clearly the kid needed to talk to somebody and I guess sex issues would be tough to talk to your dad about. "You mentioned Quil? Your libido? Jake…are you gay? Because if you are, that's totally okay. It's all politically correct now. I mean, it may be tough on the Rez, but once you grow up a bit, get out of here, move to like Seattle or something, I'm sure they have a huge gay scene…"
He looked at me like I had spouted two heads before he burst out in laughter once more. "Oh. My. God! Charlie! Dude! I'm not gay!"
"It's okay, Jake, if you are, really. If Billy won't accept you, I will." Hey, I was trying here.
He continued laughing and amid the laughter I heard, "Edward…won't…believe…when he hears…this…"
My brow furrowed and my eyes grew wide. "You and Edward aren't…Jacob Ephraim Black, if you and my son-in-law are fooling around behind poor Bella's back, I swear to God…"
And that got him started again. By this time I was quite irritated by the whole thing. I just wanted to eat my pizza, drink my beer and wallow in my sorrows but he was really starting to piss me off. "Jacob!" I shouted to get his attention.
He sobered and smiled. "Charlie, I'm not gay, Edward would never cheat on Bella, and I really don't know what else to say." He paused and asked softly, "What's going on? Why did you do that to Sue? She's hurting." He looked at me, really looked at me. "I know you, Charlie. You'd never do that to her. You aren't that guy. The things you said to her, you wouldn't say that." He looked me over once more and I saw not only intelligence, but wisdom beyond his age in his eyes. "So, why? Why did you say those things?"
Aw, crap. He pulled the sensitive tone out. My brain barely realized the fact I was saying the words as I spouted, "I'm dying, Jake. Doc told me just today."
He sat and processed that for a moment. "Do Bella and Edward know?"
I shook my head. "Not yet. I called and told Renee. Can you believe she's pregnant?"
He blinked. "Bella's mom is pregnant?"
I nodded. "Yeah, guess it was a day for surprises."
We sat in an awkward silence before he asked softly, "What's wrong with you, Charlie?"
"Cancer," I told him flatly.
He swallowed hard and sat up straighter. "How-how long do you have?"
I shrugged. "A few weeks. A month at most. It's already spread into my bones and throughout my body."
I nodded. There was nothing else to say.
Suddenly Jake jumped up. "You need to tell Bella."
"I will, Jake. Just give me time. I don't want her wallowing over this with me for weeks. I want to live like I'm normal until I die."
"Who says you have to die?"
I just stared at him. "Jake, it's terminal. The doctor said nothing could cure it. Not even any of those fancy clinical trials could heal me."
He smiled suddenly. "I know of one."
I blinked. "You do?"
He nodded. "Doctor Leech could fix you up!"
He grinned. "Come on, Charlie. Get dressed. We're going for a ride."
"To the Cullens' house. I'm about to rock your world."
"Didn't you do that when you turned into a dog in front of me?"
His smile grew. "Wolf. And yeah, well, your mind is about to be blown."
I wasn't sure I was ready for that.
AN2: Sooooo…what do we think? Obviously ya'll know where he's going and what Jake's thoughts are. So…what about you? Should he become a vampire? Or should Charlie choose death? I'm going to wait and see what you guys think before I write more. Do you want to see Bella accepting Charlie's death? Or should Charlie take the leap and become a vampire? What would that mean? How would things evolve from there? Could this become a full story? Hmmm…